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How to Get a 6 Month Old to Nap Without a Bottle

by Sara Ipatenco

Many babies easily fall asleep if they're sucking on a bottle, which can be quite soothing to infants. It's not good for your baby's teeth, however. When your 6 month old falls asleep with a bottle in her mouth, the sugars in the breast milk or formula coat her teeth and gums, which can lead to dental decay. It'll take some transition time, but changing your baby's sleep routine will help her slip off to dreamland without the aid of a bottle.

Give your baby a pacifier to suck on instead of the bottle. If it's the sucking motion that soothes your little one and helps her fall asleep, a pacifier will work just as well as the bottle. Using a pacifier for the first year of life can reduce your infant's risk of sudden infant death syndrome, too.

Feed your baby her bottle before it's time to go to sleep. She might get drowsy and close her eyes, but don't settle her in her bassinet or crib with the bottle still in her mouth. Eating before it's time to sleep will fill her tummy so she's more comfortable and able to fall asleep.

Rock your baby if she has a hard time falling asleep on her own. The rocking motion of your arms can be just as soothing as having a bottle. Put her in her crib when she's drowsy but still awake. That allows her to put herself to sleep, which you'll be glad for as she gets older.

Establish a new sleep time routine that doesn't include the bottle. Give your 6 month old a warm bath, read a story or sing a lullaby at naptime. Over time, your baby will begin to associate the routine with sleep and will be able to fall asleep without the bottle.

Use soothing techniques if your baby wakes in the night or midway through her nap. Don't offer a bottle, but instead rub her back, sing a lullaby or give her a pacifier. When your baby learns to soothe herself back to sleep, she won't need to rely on the bottle.

Items you will need
  • Pacifier

Tip

  • Skip the bottle, even if you only put water in it. Your baby will still learn to rely on the bottle to go to sleep even if she's not damaging her teeth in the process. Your goal is to help her fall asleep on her own.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images